Chen Yi

About this work:
Duo Ye is a form of age-old traditional song and dance of the Dong minority nationality in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, in which people stand in a circle with a bonfire in the center, and dance in slow steps towards one direction, while singing a short phrase “Ya Duo Ye” in chorus, to response to a lead singer (often the tribune of a village), who stands aside and extemporizes his words of a song made up by improvised short tunes, extending a warm welcome to guests or celebrating a happy occasion. I traveled to the Guangxi district of the Dong and Yao minority nationalities with a group of composers from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1980. The warm scene left such a deep impression on me that I wrote a piano solo piece “Duo Ye” as a result of this field trip, which won a top prize of the Fourth Chinese National Composition Competition in 1985, with a CD released by the China Record Company in 1990 [CCD90-088]. For the commission of the CRC, I rewrote the piece for chamber orchestra which has been selected in A Collection of Orchestral Works by Chen Yi issued in 1986 [AL-57], also recorded by Singapore Symphony Orchestra in the album Dances of Our Time, released on Bis in 2004. In my composition Duo Ye, I took the element of the original singing tune Ya Duo Ye (nonsense syllables sung in refrains) as a melodic motive to develop, and the dancing rhythmic chorale as the accompaniment. Developed from the primitive motive, the style of the lyrical melodies (in homophonic or polyphonic writing) and the hidden layers in the rhythmic patterns in the piece is mixed by high pitch mountain songs (with many grace notes imitating the speech-singing) and Beijing Opera tunes. The overall rhythmic arrangement in the entire piece is dominated by an application of a telescopic principle originated in Shifan Drum, a type of traditional percussion ensemble music in Southeastern China. The combinations and the contrasts between parts, the meters designed and the numbers of note groupings, all are inspired by the original rhythmic organizations called The Sum of Eight, and The Golden Olive from the folk music. The imagination of the primitive power, the high energetic spirit and the charming folk singing as the soul of the music is represented in the composition.
Version: Solo piano
Year composed: 1984
Duration: 00:06:46
Ensemble type: Keyboard:Piano
Instrumentation: 1 Piano
Instrumentation notes: pno

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